2020 BMW X1

MIAMI — As you may surmise from the numerical designation, the X1 is the smallest of BMW’s fleet of  SUVs, but don’t sell it short. This is a roomy vehicle that delivers both a fun driving experience while remaining true to the functional aspects of the SUV segment, or SAV for Sports Activity Vehicle in BMW parlance.

It is BMW’s best-selling X model worldwide, though according to the company the X1 ranks third behind the X3 and X5 in the U.S. market. Perhaps the upgrades from a mid-cycle refreshing will move it up.

Having moved into its second generation as a 2015 model, the new X1 gets new exterior styling cues for 2020 that make it more inline with the appearances of its larger siblings along with new colors, wheel designs and interior enhancements.

Up front, the familiar BMW kidney grille gets larger openings along with new optional LED headlights that are complemented by LED fog lights. The bumper design also is new. At the back, the X1 gets new tinted LED taillights, and BMW says the exhaust tips opening have grown to 90mm, an increase of 20mm over previous editions.

An available M Sport package includes a redesigned aerodynamics package that features a new front bumper, side skirts, wheel arch trim, and rear diffuser in body color.

Among new colors is a “Storm Bay Metallic” that should make Navy veterans feel at home. “Battleship Gray” was my first guess as to what it would be called.

Among interior updates the 8.8-inch touchscreen is now standard across the line to operate infotainment functions.

Available in front-wheel or all-wheel drive, the X1 comes with a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that is rated at a generous 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque from1,450 to 4,500 rpm.

Mated to an 8-speed Steptronic automatic transmission with Comfort, Eco, Sport, and Sport+ diving modes, the X1 scoots from zero-to-60 mph in 6.3 seconds in AWD configuration (X1 xDrive28i) and 6.6 with FWD (X1 sDrive28i).

My AWD test model consumed the recommended premium fuel at the rate of 23 miles-per-gallon city, 21 highway, and 28 combined, which isn’t the best in the luxury subcompact class but close to it.

The X1 seats five passengers and offers storage room behind the second row that compares favorably to that in the slightly larger X3.

Standard equipment with the base MSRP of $37,300 includes a power liftgate, park distance control, active cruise control, SensaTec (simulated leather) interior upholstery, automatic climate control, matte chrome exterior trim, navigation, Apple CarPlay, rain-sensing wipers, and the Active Driving Assistant suite of features (frontal collision warning, land departure warning, speed limit info, and automatic high-beat headlights).

Options like a Premium Package that added a panoramic sunroof, a head-up display. and heated front seats among other features), fine wood trim, a mocha Dakota leather interior and a few other items ran the final total for my test vehicle to $48,645 including the $995 destination and delivery charge.

What I liked about the 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i: It’s a fun vehicle to drive with a peppy performance that delivers decent mileage. Yet is has nice storage room at the rear (27.1 cubic feet) and 58.7 max with the second-row seats folded

What I didn’t like about the 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i: The infotainment system requires a lot of attention when inputting commands. Do I press the console knob, turn it, or shift it to one side or the other to get what I want? Though rear space is spacious, storage of smaller items up front in the cabin is on the stingy side.

Would I buy the 2020 BMW X1 xDrive28i? Yes, though the FWD version is adequate for most city driving. You’re not going to take this out on many rough treks through the woods in any case.

— Paul Borden